I am hiding from winter in Key West. When I saw my Key West friends, it took approximately five minutes for all of us to catch up. The conversation went something like this:
“What did you do this summer?”
“Nothing, just stayed home, how about you?”
“Nothing, just stayed home.”
Within five minutes all seven of us caught up on each other’s lives.
This has been quite a year.
Healthcare workers risk their lives daily. Those parents lucky enough to have jobs struggle to keep their children at their computers while working full-time from home.
Essential workers like teachers have stretched their creative limits to keep students invested in learning amidst so many distractions.
Many service workers are home, without jobs or income…anxious about when or if they will be able to return to work. Small businesses are failing.
Larger companies are finding that some employees work from home effectively while others fall prey to the distractions of home life.
Most of us have conquered online meetings.
Family get togethers, clubs, and meetings are face squares on the computer or phone. Celebrations (such as my nephew’s wedding) are movies.
My nephew’s COVID 19 wedding with his charming fiancé (now wife) was a quiet, beautiful, and simple ceremony that was all about their love and their desire to build a life and family together. There were no distractions from bands, bridesmaids, groomsmen, guests, just the two of them, their parents, and siblings, smiling and tearing while they shared their commitment. It was a gentle, sweet ceremony where they were the sole writers, actors, and producers of their special moment.
It made me wonder what will happen after science saves us. After the 1918 influenza people went about their lives as if nothing had happened.
Will we do the same? We have the advantage of communications and the Internet that they did not. Everything that we need is available by touching a few keys. We can get meals, chat with friends, and be up to date on the news with a few clicks.
So, will we respond like those who survived the devastating 1918 influenza? Or will we use these newfound skills and revelations to change our lives to a quieter, more intimate version?
During COVID 19, we discovered that we don’t need to give that annual party or socialize as much as we thought. We looked inward to the familial for companionship and to the Internet for social connection. Will that be enough?
As a retired introvert with compromised health, I have been healthier. The masks (formerly a social no-no) prevented me from getting my monthly colds, our family has gotten closer and I have been able to stay close to my friends through the Internet and social distancing.
But for the extroverted, the young, the unemployed, the devastated business community; it has been an unmitigated disaster. Many are trying to stay afloat until the old world returns.
Will it? Will we?
Angela Rieck, a Caroline County native, received her PhD in Mathematical Psychology from the University of Maryland and worked as a scientist at Bell Labs, and other high-tech companies in New Jersey before retiring as a corporate executive. Angela and her dogs divide their time between St Michaels and Key West Florida. Her daughter lives and works in New York City.